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In Brief

2004 shooting death

Man gets 18 to 45 years in prison for robbery-slaying

Six years after off-roaders found 38-year-old Anthony Wayne Helton’s body near Laughlin, his killer was sentenced to prison.

John Hemmers, 46, was sentenced Monday to 18 to 45 years in prison for shooting to death Helton in November 2004. Hemmers was given more than four years of credit for time served.

Hemmers pleaded guilty in February to second-degree murder and robbery with use of a deadly weapon.

Prosecutors had sought the death penalty against Hemmers before they agreed to the plea deal.

Helton’s mother and sister testified at Monday’s sentencing hearing before Judge Donald Mosley.

According to grand jury testimony, Helton was killed by a single gunshot to the back of his head. Authorities said Hemmers stole Helton’s white 2003 Ford F-350 pickup after the slaying.

Helton was dating Hemmers’ sister , according to grand jury testimony.

Hemmers has a criminal history involving drug and alcohol abuse, according to court documents. He was arrested in Arizona in July 2005.

CLARK COUNTY UNSOLVED CASES

Body of homicide victim found in 1997 to be exhumed

An unidentified homicide victim from 1997 will be exhumed Wednesday as part of a Clark County forensic science project to solve John and Jane Doe cases, according to the county coroner’s office.

The office received a $400,000 federal grant in 2009 to exhume as many as 50 unnamed people who died and were buried in the county.

The man to be exhumed Wednesday, thought to be Antonio Marino, an illegal immigrant between 35 and 40 years old from El Salvador, is the first case in the project.

The exhumation will take place at 6:30 a.m. at Davis Funeral Home.

There are 160 unsolved cases in the county. Those 160 cases will be reviewed, and the cases most likely to be solved using DNA analysis will be chosen, officials said.

SATURDAY SHOOTING DEATHS

Coroner’s office ID victims in possible murder-suicide

Two people killed in a possible murder-suicide Saturday have been identified by the Clark County coroner’s office.

Natalie Suzanne Gilkerson, 38, was killed by a gunshot wound to the torso. Her death was ruled a homicide.

Nestor Santos Pineda, 47, died from a gunshot wound to the head. His death was ruled a suicide.

Officers were called to a neighborhood near Sandhill Road and Twain Avenue about 3:55 p.m. after receiving a report of a dead woman inside a home, police said.

Officers found the body at the residence on the 3800 block of Catamaran Circle and discovered a man inside the garage with a gunshot wound to the head, police said.

The man died on the way to the hospital.

FELONY DUI

Nevadan sentenced in death of race runner from Utah

A Nevada man was sentenced Monday to seven to 20 years in state prison after pleading guilty to driving under the influence of alcohol when he hit and killed a relay race runner from Utah in October.

Joshua Vincent Salayich, 26, wept as he sought leniency from Clark County District Court Judge David Barker, who heard sobbing family members describe their pain as they sought a long sentence for Salayich in the death of Jeremy Kunz, 33, of Kamas, Utah.

Kunz was taking part in a stage of the 180-mile Ragnar Relay from Valley of Fire State Park to the Red Rock Resort when he was struck and killed on Oct. 10 in Henderson. Another runner told police he jumped out of the way of a speeding 2005 Nissan Altima, but the vehicle struck Kunz about 4:30 a.m.

Salayich pleaded guilty in January to felony DUI causing death as part of a plea deal that had prosecutors drop a felony charge of leaving the scene of the crash not far from his home in Henderson.

Prosecutor Eric Bauman told the judge Monday that Salayich’s blood-alcohol level was 0.26 percent after the crash, more than three times the legal limit of 0.08 percent.

IN EFFECT MAY 19

Pet sterilization rule coming, signs in parks tell owners

Clark County crews are posting 150 signs in parks to prepare for the pet sterilization rule that will go into effect May 19.

The rule requires dogs and cats that are 4 months or older to be spayed or neutered. Owners who do not comply face a $1,000 fine and up to six months in jail.

It mirrors rules in Las Vegas and North Las Vegas, all of which are intended to reduce the number of euthanized strays, estimated at 30,000 last year. Henderson is working to create its own mandatory sterilization rule.

Exemptions can be made for those with a pet fancier’s or breeder’s permit and for those whose veterinarians confirm their animals are too old or sick. People with disabilities that require service animals also are exempt.

Heaven Can Wait Sanctuary is offering free pet sterilization to low-income residents. All cats are eligible, but only one dog per household can receive the free service.

LEGACY OF JUSTICE AWARD

Creation of drug courts earns honor for two former judges

Two former judges are being honored by the Nevada Supreme Court for their work establishing the state’s first drug courts.

Former Clark County District Judge Jack Lehman and former Washoe County District Judge Peter Breen were named as recipients of the high court’s Legacy of Justice Award.

Lehman started the nation’s fifth drug court in Clark County in 1992.

Breen established Washoe County’s first drug court a short time later.

Now Nevada has 46 specialty courts focusing on drug, mental health, drunken driving, homeless and veterans cases.

Breen was the longest-sitting state judge when he retired in Reno in 2009 after 32 years. He’s now 70.

Lehman was a judge in Las Vegas from 1987 to 2008.

DESERT RESEARCH INSTITUTE

More money sought to keep cloud-seeding effort running

Researchers again are seeking funds to continue a Nevada cloud-seeding program that administrators say squeezes enough extra moisture out of winter storms to justify the expense.

The Desert Research Institute said the program costs about $1 million a year. That funds mountaintop generators in the Lake Tahoe area that release silver iodide particles into clouds to help boost snowfall amounts.

The cloud-seeding program was in trouble during the 2009 Legislature, when lawmakers facing a budget deficit dropped state funding for the program.

An 11th-hour pitch to state water providers last year raised nearly $600,000 to keep it running.

 

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